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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Advice on Buying Used #13686370 08/31/20 04:30 PM
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atx_ben Offline OP
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Hello all:

I've never owned a boat -- I grew up wade fishing in Galveston, and if I couldn't drive there, I couldn't fish it. I currently live in Austin, and have been fishing community ponds with some luck, but I want to do more fishing in Travis/Granger/Walter Long. I'd also like the option to take the boat to the coast (Port Aransas, Galveston) and fish the bays though this will be a once or twice a year kind of thing (at least, until the kids get older).

I want to spend ~$5000 (some wiggle room there) on a boat, and I've seen lots of good options on Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace. I'd considered a fancy kayak, but I think a second-hand jon boat might be a better choice in the long run. I don't care so much about how it looks, and this is very much a "starter" boat in that I expect it to get dinged up, and I'll probably break it somehow. The goal is to learn about boat ownership, so that I feel comfortable dropping more money for something larger/fancier in the future.

So, experts! What advice to you have for finding/buying used jon boats? What should I look out for? What are common points of failure? What should I look for specifically in trailers and outboards? (i.e., what are the cheap problems to fix, and is there any way I can educate myself here, or should I find (and possibly pay?) someone to be a consultant?

Re: Advice on Buying Used [Re: atx_ben] #13686533 08/31/20 06:37 PM
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Alumacraft 14 Offline
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I use Craigslist, I look for a cheap bare hull on trailer flat bottom with a wide floor. 5k you should easily find a 16ft boat. Aluminium boats are pretty tough but it's how they are trailered that destroys them. Bunks should run the entire length and nose should be supported, Jon boats are light weight so if they sit on a trailer built for a heavy boat that can beat them up as well. Transom should have no play when you put weight on the outboard. Rivet jons can leak but it's an easy fix. Welded jons are stronger, heavier hull, welds will break and this takes a little more to repair. They require more HP because of their weight. I prefer riveted jons, I primarily fished highland lakes, white bass runs and Baffin Bay out of mine when I owned one. Outboards? I love the mercury 25hp 1999-2007, amazing motor. Knowing a little about an outboard will go a long way, but water testing a rig is a must for me. Motors can easily fire up on rabbit ears but runs completely different under load. A dude that parks his rig out in the blazing sun compared to under a cover or in garage, well avoid the guys baking his boat in the UV.

I have a friend who owns a tracker classic with a 40hp. He uses it in the bay and fresh. Salt water requires fresh water wash downs after every use and he switched his trolling motor to a saltwater one. After three years his boat still looks new and runs like new. 5k would be a nice down payment and you will be getting a new rig with real low payments. Same could be said for the GRIZZLY 1654 SPORTSMAN with 40hp if you want a pure utility setup, which would be my route.

Last edited by Alumacraft 14; 08/31/20 06:42 PM.
Re: Advice on Buying Used [Re: atx_ben] #13686583 08/31/20 07:13 PM
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atx_ben Offline OP
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Good feedback, thanks Aluma. Good call on just buying something new -- I have gone back and forth here. I'll keep the Grizzly you recommended in mind. That would certainly ease my concerns of getting stuck in the middle of Travis and having to swim to shore smile

Re: Advice on Buying Used [Re: atx_ben] #13687476 09/01/20 01:28 PM
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Have patience and you will find what you are looking for. I was in a similar situation a few years ago, wanting a utilitarian 17-18ft aluminum boat. After extensive research, I narrowed my search to the aluminum boats with thicker hulls, like the Grizzly Sportsman. I found a seven year old Lowe Roughneck 1760 with a 50HP 2 stroke Mercury for 5K and change.

Part of the key here to finding a good deal is to include boats that are not marketed to bass fishermen. There is an instant discount on duck boats and hunting boats relative to fishing vessels, especially bass boats. The added bonus here is that duck boats and hunting boats tend to be well built, designed to traverse very shallow stumpy and rocky waters.

I made a recent post somewhere else on things to look for, and will try to find it.


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Re: Advice on Buying Used [Re: atx_ben] #13687482 09/01/20 01:32 PM
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Here's a link to the entire thread. Lots of good advice.
buyingaluminumboat


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Re: Advice on Buying Used [Re: atx_ben] #13687525 09/01/20 02:02 PM
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atx_ben Offline OP
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Nice! Thanks CC!

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